What is Asperger’s?

This post is just a brief explanation, Asperger’s is a lot deeper and there are far more things to share about the diagnosis than what I have written. Please remember we are each individuals and just like neurotypicals you cannot define us with a single definition or diagnosis.  

Most people, especially those who are neurotypical describe and act as though Asperger’s and other forms of Autism are diseases with no cures and dread to hear the words mentioned about their child. In fact it’s a neurological disorder which you are born with and there is little evidence proving the cause and exact reason why some of us are born with it. Family history has been seen to play a part in the development. It is also much more common to diagnose boys rather than girls this may be because on average women will present differently to men. Asperger’s is quite often diagnosed later in life especially for women, this can be really hard for us with Asperger’s as this means we have gone through life being misunderstood and hurt due to a lack of understanding. 

Asperger’s is normally referred to as “high-functioning” which means we normally have above or average intelligence, we normally develop as normal or slightly faster than peers however, suffer in the social and mental health department. This makes it harder for those with Asperger’s to be diagnosed at a very young age as they may perform well until something is presented in their life that challengers them. I for instance didn’t have many obvious negatives growing up (no more than any child of course) and most of the “quirks” I had actually helped me to do so well in school and develop. However, later in life I began to show a lot more negative symptoms and began isolating myself as well as social and emotional problems. Masking or pretending to be someone I am not during most of my life finely took a toll on me. After having my first life changing break down my mum fought extremely hard with the health system and I got a diagnosis. If this hadn’t happened maybe it would’ve taken even longer to present. 

It can be a super power, a curse or both at the same time however, no two people present the same, so each of us with a form of autism will be different and will struggle and succeed in different ways. Treatment to help ease the negative symptoms should be unique to the individual as we are all different. Boys and girls will present differently as well. 

I do not need a cure, I do not have a disease I am just different in some ways this can make me better at some things however, it can also make me worse in other things but this is a journey and there’s no easy fix for anyone. 

I am “too sensitive” and this hurts me greatly, I feel far too much compared to an NT (neurotypical) this is both a blessing and a curse, I am able to feel complex emotions however, it can be hard to control them and may cause outbursts. Heightened emotions and empathy sometimes means those of us with Asperger’s struggle to process and show them so it appears that we lack emotion when in fact most of us feel it much more. Of course some of us lack emotion and this is fine as many NTs have also had this present. 

The communication problems usually arise when the NTs(Neurotypicals) and autistic people try to communicate to one another. We tend to be more direct, honest (which normally appears as rude to NTs) and efficient, however, those without autism tend to rely on body language, complicated social dances and unspoken rules which is so very hard for some of us.

Imagine being told to play a brand new game or build a piece of furniture without being given a manual, that’s what it can be like for us to live around others. Communication is a two way street, you cant expect us to change ourselves to suit you because you’re idea of normality is different. It’s a lot of energy and effort to fit in for anyone let alone for someone with a disorder, try and put in some effort too then we can meet in the middle and it’ll make it easier for the both of us haha. 🙂 There people with autism who do not communicate via voice, they may still understand and be able to communicate in other ways so please don’t assume anything. I find I act very different and mask around my family. Around others I mask in a different way again, I feel I am only truly me around my partner and parents.

Social isolation is very common and not always intentional because sometimes its easier and less exhausting than masking. Some of us can be expressionless (or have little expressions) and speak in a monotone like voice.

Stimming is another big part of being Asperger’s or well a majority of us will have heard of this. Just a quick question, do you click your pen, tap your fingers or shake your leg? Well that’s considered a stim. NTs and those of us with Asperger’s all stim however, we tend to stim much more or in different ways that are considered as negative or more obvious. Again some of us may not stim much at all but on average we will stim more than NTs. This can include rocking on chairs, swaying, spinning or twirling yourself or objects around you, head hitting, repetitive behaviours, hand picking or tapping, hair pulling or twisting and chewing of clothes, fingers and hair. These seem to be the stims I see pop up the most in the community. There are many others that I have not mentioned. Most of the time safe stimming should be encouraged not frowned upon, it is considered self-soothing and calming. 

Issues with planning, organising, time management are very common (women with Asperger’s have mentioned this more frequently) as well as being able to hyper-focus, because of these we tend to overthink and often feel unmotivated or lazy. This will then lead us to question our intelligence as well as worth as we may not be able to do things as easily as others and this is detrimental to our health.

It makes me very low and insignificant. You cant expect a fish to climb a tree as a monkey would. Whether you’re Asperger’s or not we each need to remember that our talents may not be the same as the next person and sometimes some people are unable to do things that you can do. 

Hyper focusing for me is helpful, it allows me to complete tasks and learn new things much quicker especially when it’s a special interest. 

Special interests should be encouraged and could pave the way for future goals, enhances pleasure and may help us make friends. Special interests can be for a range of things such as; trains, animals, numbers, quotes, books, films, music and so much more, a special interest is much more than a passion to us with Asperger’s (I will explain further at a later date). 

Being different is what makes us special, both Asperger’s and Neurotypicals are wonderful. 

Even if there were no labels we would all still be different and that’s so important to remember you are worth just as much as anyone else so don’t let others define who you are. 

Both images belong to rightful owners.

My response to WHO

This is a short post I wrote within the few hours of seeing and waiting for the responses for this post, I will write a more in depth and evidence based post to correct any of my badly worded information as this was just an immediate response and based on a few sources I have been to in the past and my general knowledge about ASD and Aspergers. Also ignore my spelling errors and please don’t take offence to anything I say, we are all different and share our own thoughts and opinions 🙂 I promise to accept you if you accept me. 

I am applaud by the post from WHO, I have so much respect for the organisation but this is truly shocking. 

This is not entirely correct. There is no cure and there are zero treatments for the condition. ASD is a spectrum, whether you like it or not there is a lower end and a higher end that’s just how a spectrum works, many of us will be at completely different ends or very similar places. Just like NTs we are all different and all share different traits which can be impacted by environmental facts and genetics. Some of us don’t appear to have the stereotypical traits that seem to appear in many shows and films. Some of us are above average intelligence and some of us are under average, it’s a spectrum and the sooner you accept that the easier it will be for all of us. I swear if I have another person begins to speak slowly to me as soon as I mention I have Aspergers then I will throw my phone at them.

Many of us with Aspergers have above or average intelligence however some may have learning disabilities that impact the learning process especially if they do not receive the support they would like or need. 

Sometimes we are more likely to suffer from other conditions surrounding mental health and Hypermobility however considering this is a subject that we’re all still trying to learn and understand about things will always change and develop. 

From the NINDS they state, ” The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, published in 2013) includes Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) as part of ASD rather than as separate disorders. A diagnosis of ASD includes an assessment of intellectual disability and language impairment.” 

Later on I read this source from NAS, 

“People with Asperger syndrome see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you have Asperger syndrome, you have it for life – it is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel that Asperger syndrome is a fundamental aspect of their identity…People with Asperger syndrome are of average or above average intelligence. They don’t have the learning disabilities that many autistic people have, but they may have specific learning difficulties. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.” I am aware that Aspergers and Autism differ in some or many ways depending on the individual.

I then read the link from the WHO and was even more angry at the lack of evidence and information, “ASDs begin in childhood and tend to persist into adolescence and adulthood. In most cases the conditions are apparent during the first 5 years of life.” this is not very informative, you are usually much younger and for women this can be extremely different. 

We tend to feel much much more than a NT and the reason why empathy may not be “present” is because we feel it so much stronger than we may be unable to show it in an appropriate way. The reason why our behaviours are so different may be because our brains work differently, this would make for a better caption than what the WHO put. None of us are broken and none of us need fixing, we need NTs to be more understanding and accepting, maybe when they do as much research into what it is like for us as much as we do for them then maybe we would get along a lot more. (excluding those of course who are lovely and understanding as again NTs are all different too and some may be understanding and some with ASD may not be understanding). We need a world where we can all be different and just except the fact they we are not computers we are people. 

Lastly there is NOTHING wrong with being Autistic or Aspergers, in fact thankfully to my traits that I was BORN with I have been able to be really successful academically, I got great grades with my eyes closed and I truly believe my traits of being Aspergers is to thank for this as I have an impeccable memory and learn new tasks in a quarter amount of time compared to a typical average NT. 

Also hello anti-vaxxers, I was born Aspergers and didn’t get it from a vaccine 😉

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/autism-spectrum-disorders

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet

https://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/asperger.aspx

Please do research, I will always continue to research my diagnosis and try to understand myself as well as others ❤